On Sept. 16, the University of North Georgia (UNG) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the Cottrell Center for Business, Technology & Innovation at the school’s Dahlonega campus.
According to a press release by the university, the Cottrell Center is a $35 million, state-of-the-art, 86,483 square foot building and is the new home for the Mike Cottrell College of Business (MCCB). The MCCB offers undergraduate programs in accounting, finance, information systems, marketing, management, cybersecurity and technology management, as well as graduate degrees in accountancy and business administration and several graduate-level certificate programs.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, several individuals made remarks, expressing excitement for the center finally being open after all the time and effort that went into building it.
“If anyone doubts that a building can be transformative, I wish you could have been with us over the past month when we saw our new home for the first time and began to settle in,” MCCB Dean Mary Gowan said. “We are living into our new space very, very well.”
Erin Whatley, a student of the Mike Cottrell College of Business, echoed Gowan’s remarks, expressing how much of a positive impact the new building has already made on her and her peers since the fall semester began back in August.
“I think we’re all in agreement that this building has had an impact on our learning already and will only continue to do so,” Whatley said. “I know that I can stand here today and confidently say that UNG’s business majors are beyond grateful for this new addition to campus designed and built specifically for us. We’re already enjoying the new space and will continue to do so while we grow, learn, make meaningful connections and build lasting friendships in these four walls.”
The Syfan Logistics Lab, JT Stratford Finance & Analytics Lab and Cyber Range are among the many industry-focused spaces contained in the building, designed to mirror what students will experience in their internships and careers. Faculty, staff, students and industry advisory board members all provided input for the center’s specialized labs, classrooms and collaborative spaces.
“With the completion of this building, I believe our future leaders will continue to be prepared to run the businesses, the industries and the communities of Northeast Georgia and beyond,” MCCB Advisory Board Chair Rope Roberts said during the ceremony.
Many of the spaces in the building are supported and named by regional businesses or individuals affiliated with the college and UNG. The building itself was named after Mike and Lynn Cottrell, a local family whose many years of support have helped make the university into what it is today.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, UNG President Bonita Jacobs thanked the Cottrells for their partnership with the university and everything they have contributed to UNG.
“On behalf of the entire UNG community I especially want to thank and recognize Lynn and Mike Cottrell, who are not only friends but have been such incredible partners in creating opportunities for our students at UNG and throughout Northeast Georgia and in fact the entire state,” Jacobs said. “To say their dedication has been integral to our success is quite the understatement.”
“Lynn and Mike’s belief in and commitment to UNG continue to enable us to become among the best business schools in Georgia and in the country,” Gowan added.
Jacobs and other UNG administrators presented the Cottrells with an image of the building as a way of saying thank you to the family for their contributions.
Also present for the ribbon cutting ceremony were University System of Georgia’s Chancellor Sonny Perdue and Georgia Senator Steve Gooch, both of whom complimented the university on the accomplishment of opening the new building.
“This is absolutely stunning to see this facility on this beautiful campus providing not only the beautiful spacious areas here, but the functionality (that) will continue to make the University of North Georgia among the best, not only in our state of Georgia but in the United States,” Perdue said.
Gooch, who is a UNG alumnus, said that the new center is much more than a building, but it is about the people who attend classes in the center to pursue their dreams and build a future for themselves and their families.
“This beautiful structure we stand in front of today is the beginning of a journey for countless men and women who will attend college here on this campus, not only in search for a job but also who are in pursuit of a dream of happiness and a career that is not only financially rewarding but also a tool to mold the future of communities around the world,” Gooch said. “The Mike Cottrell College of Business will be that launchpad that will clearly change our world as we see it today.”